Recreation Topical Study

Preaching and Worship Resources about Recreation

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The linguistics here are tricky — do we mean "re-creation," as in being made new in Christ, or do we mean "recreation," as in having fun and enjoying something? Perhaps we ought to venture that the answer to this question is "Yes."

In Scripture

"And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done" (Gen. 2:1-4).

"Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you" (Ps. 116).

New heavens and a new earth "For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind" (Isa. 65:17-25).

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.[ ]Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[ ]For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt.11:28-30).

A deserted place "He said to them, `Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat" (Mark 6:30-32).

A new creation "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" (2 Cor. 5:11-17).

Everything "For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!" (Gal. 6).

Points to Ponder

All Things New Old covenant and new covenant. Old Adam and new Adam. Old life and new life. The way of things in the biblical narrative is that God is in the business of taking what is old and making it new. This is "re-creation." The old covenant of gracious law is re-created to be a new covenant of law fulfilled by grace. The old Adam who bears the shame of sin is put to death and re-created in the new Adam, Christ, who was put to death and re-created, resurrected. The old way of life that haunts Christians is re-created by the work of Christ and of his Spirit. We do not become new people entirely, as though possessing nothing in common with who we once were. Rather, who we once were is refined, re-oriented, and re-created to new purpose.

You Say "Recreation," I say "Re-creation" It is important to play with the linguistics here. Too often, being re-created in the image of Christ is described as burdensome, fatiguing hard work, after all, the command was to pick up a cross and follow! But the linguistics betray something delightful: that there is joy and freedom and release in finally allowing our actions to align with our holy purpose. Created in the image of God, there is great delight when our perceptions of the world, our attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words, align to their original purpose. To be re-created is to fit into God's created purpose. Fitting into God's created purpose, we are re-created to participate in the re-creation of God's good (yet still broken) world.

The Day of Recreation The Sabbath is a day of rest. Many people have memories of growing up in Sabbatarian households where to "rest" was equivalent to not doing childishly joyful (read: loud) things. Another linguistic parallel worth noting is that "rest" and "restore" come from the same root. In a society where work is physically active, a day of physical rest or stillness is restorative. In a society where work is done while sitting at a desk and at a computer, restoration or re-creation may well be the work of a long run or a bike ride. As we approach the Sabbath day in a new context, it would serve us well to ask: "In what ways have the last six days made me less than my created-in-God's-image self? How can I receive this day as a gift to re-create what the world has broken down?"

A Theology of Play The Bible tells us that we are to pattern our lives on the behavior of children. "I tell you, the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14). What this means has been disputed over the centuries. I asked an elementary school-age kid in my congregation once what he made of that saying of Jesus, and he said, "Well, kids are more jolly than adults." God created the world good. It is beautiful, from the expansive sunsets to butterfly wings. The Bible tells us that God made this good world for our use and dominion. Good stewardship, then, ought to involve enjoyment of the earth and enjoyment of one another as God's creations. As we play, or recreate, we participate in the re-creation of the earth, preparing ourselves and it for the return of its Maker.

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Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.